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Life in the Baroque Period

Historical Timeline

1600-1609 England's Queen Elizabeth passes an "Act for the Relief of the Poor," which helps to find employment and necessaries for the needy. Playwright William Shakespeare of England writes Othello, King Lear and Antony and Cleopatra. German astronomer Johannes Kepler, establishes that planets move in an inconstant rate of motion along elliptical paths. The enduring children's song "Three Blind Mice" is published. 1610-1619 The King James version of the Bible is published in England after seven years of work, establishing an authoritative vernacular version of the text. Pocahontas, daughter of the famed Indian chief of the Powhatans, marries John Rolfe after being held for ransom by the English colonists. Spanish writer Miguel de Saavedra Cervantes writes the classic El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha. The basics of modern mathematics are established when French philosophermathematician Rene Descartes applies algebra to geometry. 1620-1629 The Mayflower, carrying 100 pilgrims, arrives off the North American coast at Plymouth, where the settlers form an alternative form of government based on the Mayflower Compact, marking the first immigration motivated by religion. However, the communal standard for living gives way to individual proprietorship of land to incite a work ethic. England's Sir Francis Bacon proposes that scientific reasoning come from inductive rather than the classical method of deductive reasoning, leading to the formation of the fundamental principles of the scientific method. English doctor William Harvey, in his Essay on the Motion of the Heart and the Blood, proposes that the heart is a muscle that pumps blood throughout the body.

1630-1639 Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei is threatened with torture if he refuses to withdraw his heretical propositions supporting a sun-centered solar system; Galileo recants. Harvard College in Massachusetts has its origins in the founding of a seminary. 1640-1649 Italian Evangelista Torricelli invents the first barometer, to measure air pressure. Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi writes the first known historical opera, The Coronation of Poppea. 1650-1659 Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn, celebrated for his innovative use of light and texture, paints A Portrait of Hendrickje and Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer. Clockmaking is revolutionized when Dutch mathematician Christian Huygens introduces the use of the pendulum. 1660-1669 "Father of Chemistry" Robert Boyle usurps the classical theory that there are only four basic elements--wind, water, earth, fire--with his book New Experiments Physics-Mechanical Touching the Spring of the Air and Its Effects. Orchestral music is now written to include the French horn English mathematician Isaac Newton becomes the "father of calculus" when he discovers rules for using algebraic figures that have a rate of change; he also defines the law of gravity, which states that gravity has a direct relationship to mass and distance. Physiological discoveries escalate, and English chemist Robert Hooke demonstrates that respiration depends on blood alteration; the first blood transfusion is attempted in France when blood from a lamb is delivered to a boy. The production of world-renowned Stradivarius violins begins in Cremona, Italy.

1670-1679 The famous Observatory in Greenwich, England, is founded for astronomical research; the observatory also establishes a standard time to help determine longitude. In London, the Habeas Corpus Act ensures that no prisoner shall be jailed for the same offense twice. 1680-1689 Religious nonconformist William Penn receives a land grant from Charles II, king of England, and the newly claimed territory is called Pennsylvania; Philadelphia is founded in 1682. Bank checks are first used in London, England, and facilitate overseas trade English physicist Isaac Newton defines the laws of gravity and universal laws of motion in his publication Philosophi naturalis principia mathematica. English composer Henry Purcell writes the opera Dido and Aeneas. 1690-1699 The infamous witch trials of Salem begin in the colony of Massachusetts, and 20 "witches" are eventually put to death. German mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm invents a calculating machine that can add, subtract, and multiply. The first legitimate stock exchange is founded in London, England. 1700-1709 The first regular newspaper in the American colonies, the News-Letter, is founded in Boston in 1704 English farmer Jethro Tull, 27, invents a seed-planting drill that will greatly increase agricultural productivity. Johann Sebastian Bach is appointed court organist at Weimar, where he will compose works for the organ, including his renowned preludes and fugues. Edmund Halley's studies propose that comets sighted in 1531, 1607, and 1682 are one and the same, and the celestial body is named Halley's Comet in his honor.

1710-1719 Composer George Frederick Handel, 27, moves from Germany to England, where he will spend the rest of his life. Physicist Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit invents a thermometer that uses mercury instead of alcohol. Daniel Defoe writes The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, based loosely on the experiences of Scottish mariner Alexander Selkirk. The Collegiate School of Saybrook, Connecticut, is renamed Yale University after a major donor and moved to New Haven. Christianity is outlawed in China. 1720-1729 Inoculation is tested in two smallpox epidemics (in London and Boston) and proved successful. Peter the Great dies in 1725 at age 52; he has single-handedly brought Russia into the West and made it a major European power. The foundations of photography are laid when German chemist J.H. Schulze establishes that silver salts darken when exposed to light. 1730-1739 Benjamin Franklin founds the first circulating library in North America. He begins to publish his agricultural handbook Poor Richard's Almanack; to improve circulation, he will work in his capacity of deputy postmaster general to ameliorate the colonial postal system and will effect a communications revolution. He also creates the first municipal police force in Philadelphia. 1740-1749 Benjamin Franklin's new Franklin Stove is a significant improvement over heating a room by fireplace. George Frederick Handel composes the hymn Joy to the World and the oratorio The Messiah.

The earliest known versions of nursery rhymes such as London Bridge Is Falling Down, Hickory Dickory Dock, and Sing a Song of Sixpence are published in Tommy Thumb's Pretty Song Book in London. Scottish physician James Lind discovers that citrus fruit is the only effective cure for scurvy. After completing The Art of the Fügue, Johann Sebastian Bach dies in 1750 at age 65. This information was garnered from the world timeline provided online by The History Channel. For these and other fascinating tidbits about the Baroque Period, please visit the following URL:


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